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What are the penalties for illegally carrying a firearm?


Many people in Philadelphia own or possess guns. We previously discussed that many of these people possess the guns legally, but many others who possess them are prohibited from doing so. However, even those who own guns legally cannot just carry them everywhere they go. In order to carry a gun on their person in public in Philadelphia, they must have a valid license. If they do not, they may face gun charges.

People who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing a gun can own one and keep it in their home or place of business, but cannot take it in public, including their vehicle, without having a valid license allowing them to carry it. There are a number of exceptions to this rule for police and other government officers, active duty military members, security officers who protect money, people who are transporting the firearm after purchase or repair to their home as long as it is not loaded and others. However, for the most part citizens of Philadelphia must have a license.

If one is caught possessing a gun in a vehicle or on public property without a license, he or she may face serious consequences. If a person does not have the appropriate license, then he or she may face felony gun charges in the third degree. If the person does not have a criminal record, and is eligible to hold the related license, then they still may be convicted of a first degree misdemeanor. If a person is convicted of either of these, the conviction can have long-term consequences on their personal and professional future.

As with any criminal charge, though, a person is innocent until proven guilty. There may defenses available to the person, including whether the police officer lawfully stopped or searched the person prior to finding the gun. If the stop or search was illegal, the charges may be dropped.

Many people carry firearms in public in Philadelphia. Some carry them legally with valid licenses and others do not. For those who do not they may be facing serious consequences if convicted, but there may be effective defenses available to allegations of illegal weapons possession. Experienced criminal defense attorneys understand these laws and can protect one's rights amidst weapons charges.

Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, "Pennsylvania Statute Section 6106," accessed Feb. 9, 2015

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